The funeral for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was held in the capital city of Pyongyang on Wednesday. The funeral procession -- which lasted two and a half hours -- started at Kumsusan Palace and then snaked its way through the capital, passing by government buildings and places where Kim lived and worked.
The parade was led by a black limousine with large portrait of the Dear Leader on top, and included military regiments and a 21 gun salute.
Walking beside Kim's hearse was his youngest son and a number of top party figures and generals.
Kim Jong-un will take over for his father as North Korea's supreme leader, extending the Kim dynasty that started with Kim Jong-il's father, Kim Il-sung. Next to Kim Jong-un in the procession were Workers’ Party officials Choe Thae Bok and Kim Ki Nam, senior military officer Kim Jong Gak, military chief Ri Yong Ho and People’s Armed Forces Minster Kim Yong Chun.
Thousands of people lining the streets of Pyongyang were overcome with sadness. In the video footage, they are wiping tears from their eyes while a chorus of screams and moans fills the air.
“How can the sky not cry?” a crying soldier said to state TV, referring to falling snow in the capital. “The people... are all crying tears of blood.”
While the emotions are surely raw, some analysts question their authenticity. Some pointed to the fact that those most distraught are the ones closest to the camera, adding that Pyongyang citizens may fear punishment if they don't mourn.
However, in a country that has completely barred the Internet and foreign media, Kim Jong-il is literally a god-like figure (he is deified in schools and during his lifetime it was reported that he could control the weather with his moods). North Koreans saw him both as a father and the world's greatest statesman.
With the true sentiments of the North Korean people still very much unknown to outsiders, the rest of the world will never know how those people really feel about their late despotic leader Kim Jong-il.
Kim died on Dec. 17 from a suspected heart attack. He was on a train traveling to a site outside of the capital for one of his many official visits. A national memorial service will be held for Kim on Thursday. Almost no foreign dignitaries have been invited to the proceedings, although the Chinese ambassador in Pyongyang paid his respects on Wednesday, according to Voice of America.
Video of the funeral procession below.
The full state television broadcast is below. Wailing soldiers come in around the 30 minute mark.